Monday, 25 January 2016

Our Basement Renovation - Part Two - Insulatin', Lighting and Drywall - oh MY!

Now that we completed the nitty and oh so gritty work of moving our bathroom plumbing across the room we could focus on getting some walls up.  Exciting stuff! Not that electrical and plumbing aren't fascinating .... er, but what gets me excited is seeing walls start going up and the basement start to take shape.  

Because we wanted an open concept space Brad only had to build a few walls.  He also framed in the two closets and created framework around the duct work in the ceiling. Bulkheads are a necessary evil of basements.  

Our builder had already insulated all of our outer walls with the pink stuff to keep the cold out but we chose to insulate the basement ceilings and the walls around the furnace room with sound reducing insulation.  There are a few reasons for this -- so we could play movies with the new surround sound LOUD, so we didn't have to hear the furnace going on and off during a movie and, quite honestly, we didn't want to hear the boys yelling at the TV with their friends as they played video games. 

This is not our first rodeo, people!

Armed with rubber gloves and masks (we were bringing sexy back!) Brad and I insulated walls and ceilings - okay, Brad insulated all the ceilings and I helped with a bunch of the walls.  Besides the safety stuff, you'll also need sharp retractable utility knives, some measuring tapes, a basic ability to measure and you're good to go.

Obviously fashion and good hair aren't prerequisites for insulation work.
Insulation is a messy business.  Health-wise, masks (like the sexy one I'm sporting above), are a MUST when dealing with insulation but they're also extremely hot and if you get insulation on your skin it's itchy (long sleeves are a good idea).  My point?  It's not a fun job but it's also not a hard job to do and I was quite pleased with the walls that I did myself.  We think it makes a big difference in keeping the noise between floors down especially since we have tile and hardwood throughout the main floor.

Result? - worth the extra money to make it more sound resistant.  I love my family but I don't always want to hear them.  AmIright?

Lighting is something that you may not notice if it's done right but if it's done 'less than right' you'll sense it.  It's also something you have to map out before you start to do your ceilings.  Brad and I thought long and hard about what we wanted.  We always try to go for less energy usage so LED was the way to go.  They are pricey bulbs but they've come down in price a little and with some offered rebates it was a no brainer for us.  We opted for LED pot lights throughout the basement and since we were going for a 'transitional with a slightly industrial vibe' in the basement we chose non-LED Edison bulbs for the cool lighting fixture in the stairway.

Love the slightly industrial look of this
fixture in the stairwell with its Edison bulbs.
When Brad mapped out his pot light plan each pot light would be 4 feet apart to minimize dark spots or shadows in the room.  The plan looked good.  But remember, our entertainment space is a honkin' 40 feet long so once the pot lights were installed it kind of resembled a runway.  God love 'im we had a lot of lights but they look great!

The pot lights are all on dimmers and are divided into different areas of the room so the entire basement isn't on one switch.  Brad, of course, took some ribbing from family members about the amount of lights we had.  Sure, we could probably have a doctor perform surgery in the basement or land a 747 but we don't have any dark spots in the basement!  Mission accomplished!

Note: The pot lights in the picture above had to be (easily) removed while the drywall was installed then reinstalled.

Part of getting older and wiser (and having a little more cash flow) is knowing when to do things yourself and when to call in the experts.  Installing and especially mudding drywall is a skill which Brad and I know we do not possess.  We are also fully aware that we are picky about quality when it comes to finishes because finishes are what we (and others) notice.  So we opted to hire out for the drywall and we're so glad we did.  It would have taken us forever to do and it wouldn't have near the quality that we ended up with.  Our drywaller Peter was even more quality conscious than we were, had amazing pride in his work and did a wonderful job.  He even guarantees no nail pops ... evah!

Peter also suggested that we drywall the ceiling.  We were originally thinking of doing a drop ceiling to save money but since Peter could do it for less than a drop ceiling we went for a fully drywalled look.  And we LOVE it!  It doesn't feel like a basement, the ceiling feels quite high and the California stucco looks great with the LED pot lights we installed.  It pays to listen to the professionals.

But along with drywall comes the inevitable drywall dust.  Drywall dust is like sparkles in the crafting world.  You will be finding that stuff on you and around your house for weeks afterwards!  It's the gift that keeps giving.  Gah!  I didn't think things would get THAT dusty.  

A view towards the media area and
the door to the bathroom. Now things are

taking shape!  Look at that DUST!!
Oooo baby!  Drywall dust seemed to creep up the stairs onto the main floor and our basement was layered with it.  It was a necessary evil though and the drywall guys cleaned it up really well.  After we mopped it a couple of times we were dust-free and ready to move on to the next {much more fun} stage - paint!!

Result? - totally worth it to get a professional to drywall and mud.  You'll notice a difference.

Tip: We have three good-sized windows in our basement but when we were building our house we had our builder increase the size of one of them.  Why?  Not only does it provide a tonne of natural light but we could also get 4'x8' sheets of drywall (or a long counter top for the bar) through the window.  Peter just made a makeshift slide for the drywall and easily slid the sheets through the window.  He was ecstatic and we saved a lot of time and money on labour.  If possible, think ahead to make your drywaller happy and save money.

That's where we stood in September 2015 for our renovation.

Next up for Our Basement Renovation blog posts 

"Do these painting clothes make me too sexy?" and 

"I know we're half way done painting but are you SURE you love this colour?" (and other things you shouldn't ask your spouse during a renovation)


Janine K said...

I love it Laurie!! It's like watching My Dream Home 😊 You won't know yourself when it's done. I love the progress pictures!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks Janine! It's been quite a long process but we're so happy with it. We're 90% done and I can't wait to share the pics and process with everyone on the blog.

Traci Romero said...

Insulation is so important. Sometimes, I think in the rush to see a basement or another room in a residence have a new look, homeowners overlook that. However, the time spent on insulation earlier on will definitely be of benefit to your pocket later. In fact, it improves your overall well being since the space will be a lot more comfortable.

Traci Romero @ Harris Plumbing

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Traci - It's hard to take the time (and money) to make things better behind the scenes (people typically don't compliment you on your insulation or awesome electrical, right?) but it is worth it in the long run. We've had many a very LOUD movie night in the basement lately and it's helped to have that extra sound protection so the whole house doesn't have to hear the explosions etc on screen. :)

Wilfred Andrews said...

Totally agree with you about the lighting. I sometimes wonder if lighting companies are not doing most of us a disservice when they don't work harder to help consumers see just how big a difference the correct lighting can make in any space. I think that those who know how powerful different types of lights are when used correctly, add to the value of homes.

Wilfred Andrews @ LB Plumbing and Heating

Paul Leach said...

I just came across your site and am finding it really helpful. I am about to start our basement finishing project, but I am trying to figure out if I need to seal the floor in the storage area that’s going to remain unfinished. In other words, should I go ahead and seal the floor in that portion of the basement? I’d appreciate any advice you can give me.

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